Solar for St. Paul

November 2, 2011

Recently in St. Paul, Minnesota, I had the opportunity to see another example of how the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) is helping state and local governments across America meet their goals to save money, reduce pollution, and create new jobs and new business opportunities.

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, U.S. Congresswoman Betty McCollum, Xcel Energy Regional Vice President Laura McCarten, and I witnessed the unveiling of a new 82-kilowatt solar photovoltaic installation at the RiverCentre convention complex in the heart of downtown St. Paul. The RiverCentre Convention Complex received $1 million through the Solar America Communities program, which was funded through the Recovery Act.

While we were speaking, several construction workers were hard at work installing the final set of photovoltaic modules on the side of the multi-story parking lot. The completed project will have 348 American-made solar photovoltaic panels that will generate 100,000 kilowatt hours of energy annually —enough to power nine homes for a year. The project includes converting more than 1,000 traditional lights in the parking garage into new energy-efficient lamps, saving $50,000 per year simply by saving energy. See the Energy Blog post.